Planning Your Nature Walk
Four things to consider when planning a nature walk
When it comes to choosing a nature walk, there are all sorts of things to think about – and all sorts of places to go! But sometimes you can get so excited looking at destinations, that you forget some of the other important things to consider when planning a nature walk. These are things that might only be small glances, but, once taken into account, help your nature walks run really smoothly.
In this article, we will have a look at four things that you really should consider when you start planning a nature walk.
Let's get you started!
Before diving straight in to exploring a nature walk destination, it can be helpful to take a moment and think about any preferences and requirements you might need to consider when you begin to plan a nature walk. In fact, there are four big things you should consider:
- What are your favorite landscapes?
- How far can you travel?
- What is your fitness and experience?
- Do you have specific needs and requirements?
Lets have a closer look at some of these.
Terrain and environment
Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to landscapes. There are so many different places you can choose to walk – from dappled woodlands to sunlit beaches; wild flower meadows to rugged mountain peaks.
Sometimes you may know for sure where it is you want to go. But, if you are unsure, start by thinking about the types of landscapes you like. Also think about what you don’t like. If crowded spaces are not for you, would you enjoy walking in dense woodland? Remember to consider other people you might walking with too. If you love wild flower meadows, but everyone else prefers the beach, will the nature walk end in tantrums and tears?
Remember, too, that sometimes everyone may be in agreement about where you would like to go – to the mountain, for example, but would this terrain be a little too much for your party’s fitness and experience.
Distance and accessibility
Another important point to consider, is how far are you willing to travel to reach your nature walk destination? Are you able to travel long-distance to reach your favorite destination or do you need to think about locations a little closer to home?
Will you need to use public transport – in which case, do you need to choose a nature walk you can arrive at and complete within the confines of a timetable? Sometimes, the nearest drop-off point might be a long way from the actual walk start point. Or, transport might be few and far between – in which case, how would you manage if you miss your return pick-up? Would a taxi serve that destination? Is there a B&B nearby?
Or, will you be driving – in which case, are there places to park near your walk start point? It can be really annoying arriving at your perfect location, only to find the car park is several miles away. You might be happy to walk all that distance there and back again, but will it be too much for young children? They may be tired before you even start the walk, or you will have to drag them back all that way having tired them out by doing the walk.
Fitness and ability
When planning a walk, aside from the points already mentioned, probably one of the most important things to consider, is your fitness and ability. And not just your own fitness and ability, but that of everyone who will be walking with you.
For example, will you have young children or elderly people in your party? How far and how long can they walk – or will they walk? A young child might be perfectly capable of ambling along for a mile or two, but would you be content to amble too? If you push them to speed up and cover a greater distance, they may not even manage half a mile. Likewise for older members of your party. You may need to choose a shorter, easier walk in order to accommodate every body’s needs.
Always choose your walk based on the strengths of your weakest member. How far are you (or they) able to walk? For how long? Would you need to find an easy walk or can everyone manage a strenuous terrain? Also think about accessibility – will you have wheelchairs or buggies, for example – in which case, you will need to factor these in to your walk route.
Needs and requirements
Another thing to think about, are your personal needs and requirements. Where is your destination and how far away is it? Is it in a busy location or off the beaten track and remote?
If your destination is remote, would you need to take maps and navigation, first aid, food and drink or camping or survival equipment? Additionally, think about the weather and environment there. Will you need special clothing, footwear or hiking equipment? Are there large predators or venomous creatures living there? Would you need an anti-venom kit?
Even if you are going to a local, non-wilderness location, you need to consider your requirements – would you or members of your group require toilet facilities or somewhere to eat? Do you want seated picnic areas? Would paved paths and trails or children’s nature trails be important? Do you need to take medications or larger-than-pocket first aid packs?
But, just remember…
While all of these things may make you balk and think, help! Do I really want to do this if there are so many things to consider when planning a nature walk, don’t worry. Take a deep breathe and ease your anxiety.
Everything written here is a guide. It is designed to make you pause and think in order to help you prepare. Because, once you start on your walk well-prepared, it is sure to go well and more smoothly.
Just remember – nature walks are meant to be fun! So, go on out there and enjoy them.
Happy nature walking x